European Commission urges Estonia to regulate political party financing

  • 2023-07-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - A report by the European Commission on the state of the rule of law in the European Union and its member states notes that necessary legislative changes for enhancing the supervision of political party financing have still not been adopted in Estonia.

The report highlights the financing of civil society organizations by the parliament from the state budget, for which there are no transparent and objective rules, as an area of concern.

According to the evaluators, the regulations for providing access to data still require attention to ensure that personal data is well protected and public information is readily available to society. Although the legislative changes adopted to alter court procedures were necessary to alleviate the high workload of judges, the report also reflects judges' expressed concern about the possible impact of specialized departments on their work arrangements.

The report states that freedom of speech and media is well guaranteed in Estonia and public trust in public broadcasting media remains high. The European Commission's report also acknowledges Estonia for its progress in digitizing the judicial system and preventing corruption.

Adviser at the legal policy department of the Ministry of Justice Kadi Karus pointed out that this is the fourth consecutive year that evaluators have recognized Estonia's progress in digitizing the court system and preventing corruption. 

"This time, the use of a web platform for more efficient delivery of court documents was highlighted in relation to the digitalization of the court system. In the area of corruption prevention, the procedure for introducing rules to avoid conflicts of interest and lobbying activities to each incoming minister and their advisers was positively highlighted, among others," Karus said.

The report also pointed out Estonia's remarkable progress in developing a digital platform for public co-creation, which will make the legislative process more inclusive and transparent. The active role of the chancellor of justice in upholding the principles of the rule of law was also commended.

The European Commission has been publishing the rule of law overview since 2020, making this year's the fourth in the series. The state of the rule of law is evaluated in the report through four main areas -- the judicial system, anti-corruption activities, media freedom and media diversity, and other activities related to state institutions.